High Rate of Boosters at Skilled Nursing Facilities Show Vaccines Can Offer the Best Protection

Public Health is reporting 60 New Omicron Cases, 3,258 New Cases, and 7 New Deaths in Los Angeles County 

As Omicron cases continue to spread, Public Health data shows that vaccines remain one of the most powerful protections against COVID-19 transmission, especially at skilled nursing facilities.

For the week ending on December 17th, outbreaks rose in every sector we track, except skilled nursing facilities. Outbreaks increased by 118% in the education sector, 83% in congregate/group housing, 13% in settings serving people experiencing homelessness, and 24% at worksites/places of worship. Over the same period, outbreaks at skilled nursing facilities decreased by 11%.

Although masking compliance and vaccination rates are high in most of the settings, our most intensive work to ensure widespread booster administration occurred at skilled nursing facilities. Currently, 84% of eligible skilled nursing facility residents and 50% of eligible staff have received booster shots (90% of residents and 97% of staff are fully vaccinated).

“To everyone who has lost a friend or loved one to COVID-19, we send you our deepest condolences,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Evidence is mounting that for those vaccinated months ago, boosters are necessary to provide the best defense from infection with and transmission of the Omicron variant. Vaccinations also continue to provide excellent protection from the Delta variant. The widespread uptake of booster shots at skilled nursing facilities – a result of early efforts to get booster doses to these highly-vulnerable individuals as soon as they became available — have helped keep outbreaks at lower numbers in these settings.” “This aligns with other information gathered from around the country demonstrating the power of boosters, and the importance of getting boosted as soon as possible once eligible,” Ferrer continued. “Given the rising case numbers, the high rate of community transmission, and all the evidence that, over time, our immune systems need a boost to be able to attack the COVID virus, no one eligible should delay getting their booster dose.”

Today, Public Health confirmed 60 new Omicron cases, 3,258 new cases of COVID-19 and an additional 7 deaths. The numbers reported today reflect weekend reporting delays. There are 743 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized.

Public Health would like to remind residents that getting vaccinated or boosted remains critical as holiday traveling and gatherings begin. Additionally, all residents across L.A. County should continue:

  • Getting tested to help reduce the spread, especially if you traveled for the holidays, have had a possible exposure, or have symptoms, or are gathering with people not in your household.
  • Adhering to masking requirements when indoors or at large outdoor mega events, regardless of vaccination status.

Residents are also reminded that they are legally required to be isolated if they have a positive COVID test result and that vaccinated close contacts with symptoms and unvaccinated close contacts need to be quarantined.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and are recommended for everyone 5 years of age and older to help protect against COVID-19. Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status. Appointments are not needed at all Public Health vaccination sites and many community sites where first, second, and third doses are available.

 To find a vaccination site near you, or to make an appointment, please visit:

www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) or www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish).

If you need assistance, you can also call 1-833-540-0473 for help:

  • Finding an appointment
  • Connecting to free transportation to and from a vaccination site, or
  • Scheduling a home visit if you are homebound.

For more information regarding COVID-19 in LA County you can also visit the Public Health website at www.publichealth.lacounty.gov here you will find information on:

  • COVID-19 sector protocols & best practices,
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboards, and
  • COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive and, Recovery Dashboards